An intensely sad film about two brothers who cannot overcome their opposite perceptions of life. One brother sees and feels bad in everyone and everything, subsequently he is violent, antisocial and unable to appreciate or enjoy the good things which his brother desperately tries to point out to him.
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The most important family in Hickoryville is (not surprisingly) the Hickorys, with sheriff Jim and his tough manly sons Leo and Olin. The timid youngest son, Harold, doesn’t have the muscles to match up to them, so he has to use his wits to win the respect of his strong father and also the love of beautiful Mary.
McGriff and Albaby are probably doing the worst law enforcement job in the world – they are plain clothes U.S. military policemen on duty in war-time Saigon. However, their job becomes even harder when they start investigating the serial killings of local prostitutes. Their prime suspect is high ranking U.S. Army officer which brings their lives in danger.
The ostensibly simple story of a sympathetic veteran teacher giving Italian lessons to a weekly class of diverse immigrants is given infinitely more depth and complexity by the manner in which director Daniele Gaglianone renders his story. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, truth and artifice, and between documentary and drama, Gaglianone has created a film within a film. You see the apparent artifice of Gaglianone’s crew using professionals, including the noted film actor Valerio Mastandrea as the teacher, interlinked with ‘real’ immigrant protagonists, studying the language to improve their chances of employment and of gaining a permanent residence permit. Thus in the course of the lessons there is simultaneously the painful and upsetting relation of the students’ personal stories but also humour, as they interact and share their humanity, bridging cultural differences, united in their striving to make a better life for themselves. (Source: LFF programme)